Tales From the Jungle: February 2021

Tales From the Jungle: February 2021


New Year, New Goals… New Sloths! 

After waving goodbye to 2020, we have jumped into 2021 with renewed energy and vigor to propel us forward in our mission. While the sloths we work with may move slowly, our team in Costa Rica certainly do not.

We have already added THREE new sloths to our Urban Sloth Project this month (keep on reading below to meet the new sloths), and we are beginning the third expansion on our forest nursery!

You might remember that in November last year we kickstarted our ground-breaking new research program (the Urban Sloth Project) by fitting a tracking collar on a feisty young sloth called Sharon.

This project is a long-term investigation that we are carrying out in collaboration with the Costa Rican government to assess the impacts of habitat disturbance on the behavior of wild sloths.

Today I am delighted to announce that we have expanded this important project, and Sharon has been joined by Alan, Croissant, and Cacao!

Croissant is a calm and gentle three-fingered sloth that lives in the center of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca – a small town in the South Caribbean of Costa Rica. She was found in a small tree behind a bakery that sells delicious croissants, surrounded by new developments and illegal deforestation.
Alan is a young, wild three-fingered sloth that lives in the forested gardens of La Kukula Lodge (with ‘kukula’ meaning sloth in the local indigenous language) and can be found sleeping in his favorite Cecropia tree every single morning. Alan is just starting to develop the brightly colored speculum that all male three-fingered sloths develop at sexual maturity! 
Cacao is a large, male two-fingered sloth who knows exactly how to look after himself! He is reguarly found feeding from cacao pods in a local garden in the South Caribbean, and he is the first sloth to be equipped with a Sloth Backpack as a part of this project! 

Introducing the ´Sloth Backpacks

 A ‘Sloth Backpack’ is a small, made-to-measure harness that contains a micro-datalogger called a ‘Daily Diary’. The Daily Diary logger records 8 different parameters over 40 times a second (that’s almost 28 million data points a day!). The data logger is contained within a small 3D printed housing that is designed and built specifically for this project – unique for each sloth! 


We will be using the data collected to compare the behavior and survivability of sloths living in highly urbanized areas with those sloths living in healthier environments (protected primary rainforests).

We are looking at how much time these sloths spend in different behaviors, what tree species they are using, how far they are having to move to find food, how much time they are spending on the ground vs in the canopy, and how their behaviors are being impacted by noise and light pollution.



You will soon be able to adopt Croissant, Alan and Cacao as a part of our VIP sloth adoption program and receive regular updates about their progress! With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, sloth adoptions like this make an amazing gift for any animal lover – with 100% of the adoption proceeds benefiting our sloth conservation efforts! 

If you adopt a sloth now, the physical adoption package can be delivered directly to you (or your partner’s house) just in time for the big day!

Adopt a Sloth

We have ambitious plans for 2021 and we have started the year as we mean to go on – with enthusiasm and determination! We couldn’t do any of this without your support, so thank you for joining us on this journey and having faith in our work!

As a non-profit organization, we are committed to being accountable and transparent with how your donations are being used to help sloths. We will soon be publishing our 2020 Annual Report which will include a full breakdown of our 2020 financials and project achievements! I look forward to sharing all of this with you next week.


All the best from the jungles of Costa Rica,
Dr. Rebecca Cliffe
Founder and Executive Director